Oct | 13 | Thu | The City of LONDONDERRY | Despite the Bomb



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I slept soundly last night. I was exhausted. I am still feeling a bit light headed and a spot dizzy so I am wondering if I have a bit of an inner ear infection. In any event I went down to get some coffee and toast with Terry and his wife and we continued our conversation from the night before.

Meanwhile, Terry told me that a bomb had gone off in Londonderry the night before. The Real IRA bombed the UK City of Culture office in the centre of Derry because the City of Culture status underlined Derry’s role within the UK as it becomes the first UK City of Culture in 2013. The real IRA apparently has a small but active unit in Northern Ireland’s second city and regarded the office as a highly symbolic target. Sigh. I think get the impression that the people of Derry are truly sick of all this.

Mind you, just what to call the city is a challenge. To most Catholics calling Londonderry would be unacceptable and if you are not from Londonderry, then calling Londonderry, ‘Derry’ is apparently not OK either! I love them to bits, but the Irish can be confusing people sometimes!

Terry truly is big black Pentecostal fella trapped inside a white Presbyterian minister’s body. He is fantastic and wonderfully unusual. I would join his church tomorrow and his congregation must be truly blessed. I asked him what his chief desire was for his congregation and he said “That they become ‘Scriptovores’, devourers of the word of God. Neat. I am stealing that one for sure. Terry.

Interview Terry and from the road in the background I could see the wonderful mountains and the majestic inlet of the river Foy opening its mouth towards Londonderry.

I left around 9:00am in the end and Terry, a fellow chocoholic slipped me some money for fuel and packet full of Chocolate bars. As much as I declined to take them, Terry absolutely insisted I have them. Bridget, not wanting to offend the man, I took them. So as not to fall into temptation tomorrow, I have eaten them all today. I am holy. And fat.

About ½ ways to Londonderry,I slipped into a Maccy D’s to use the Wi Fi. I got back on the road just in time to have my upfront Sat Nav tell me I should arrive at my destination at precisely 11:00am, which of course is just when I needed to be there.

I arrived at the ‘Upper Room’ of the New Life Christian outreach centre. I found a parking spot and popped in 70p and went to find the door. It was locked. I was on the wrong side of the river in the wrong office. Sigh. Back in the car.

Across the river I found a car park near the waterfront and began to walk to their other office, which was maybe a 100 yards from where the bomb had gone off. Armed officers were everywhere, and the whole of that area had been taped off.

I finally arrived at 11:30 and these twelve guys had already been in the upper room praying. Since 10:00. 15 minutes later, Raymond introduced me and I had opportunity to encourage these folks for 15 minutes from the book of Micah. The Bibles were out, all well thumbed and pulled from coats and pockets and handbags. These folks were Scriptovores and Terry would have been proud of them. Before IO left these good folks I managed to do a number of interviews. I do hope they bless you.

I went back to the Car and got my friend the PA out of the back, together with my sign. Ray had advised me that as this was a very Roman Catholic city not to mention that was a Rev, and also maybe not to mention the King James Bible. Not a problem. So I Mr Muscled ‘Rev’ of my board and blanked it from my mind together with ‘Londonderry’. I was Victor Robert Farrell, appearing from one day only in ‘this beautiful city’. After a bomb the night before, the last thing I wanted to do was to offend anybody.

I approached the armed Police and informed them of what I intended to do. It wasn’t a problem provided I did not film them. I completely understood. So with Rays’ advice I set up my wee sign next to the bus stop and began. I knew I only had a couple or three minutes really and so just got to it. I concentrated in a very simple message of doing justly, living rightly, showing mercy and walking humbly and our failure in doing all of these leading to the necessity of Jesus. I finished with a quick prayer of blessing on the city.

The regular street workers were encouraged. I think they might get themselves their own battery powered PA and get to it every week. A couple of coffee shop workers came and pressed themselves against the window and a few more people stopped and listened in. I actually stopped one guy in his tracks and turned him around a full 180 degrees with but one word. ‘Bible!’ As soon as I said that, he turned on a sixpence and went in the opposite direction.

I got into conversation with two older women from Bradford. Hey? I pointed them to Paul Scanlon’s Church. Apart from that, it was all quiet on the Western Front but the faithful few were encouraged and you know, they went on sowing seeds.

A young Christian man gave me a lift with my stuff back to my car and I was off to Belfast to try and make the 7:00PM sailing to Stranraer.

I arrived in plenty of time and grabbed some more fuel and coffee ( I am quite dehydrated and need to drink more water) and got time to logging on and picking up on my emails

It looks as though I could arrive in Glasgow at around Midnight if the road was clear and so I found myself a cheap B&B and negotiated at rate cut to £30.00. This would get me in the City I needed to be in next on the day I needed to be there.

Terry called me whilst I was in the deserted Stella line terminal logged into the Cloud ( increasingly it seems, we are and shall be meeting one another in the clouds) and informs that his daughter and her flat mates would put me up tonight and tomorrow night. Praise God! However, I needed to have some time by myself for tonight and tomorrow, was another day to meet people. No matter how nice folks are, sometimes, you just need to not talk!

I boarded on time, but the ferry left 20 minutes late and it looks as though I shall also be arriving late in Glasgow, so it’s probably good I will be staying late

I spent my time logged on to the Satellite Cloud connection, Skyping with friends, and calling Bridget. Meanwhile the fat Middle East guy to my left has his shoes off, his feet up and his snores are beating the diesel engines. The African guy to my right is on Skype to his girlfriend and with no headphones or Microphone everyone is intrigued by his life and weird explanation as to why he shaved his head. The Irish lady in front of him, is ever so slightly sticking her little pinkie into her ear to politely block out the sound and a big bloke up yonder is gonna have words with everyone if they don’t shut up. Really, I am no traveller at all and wish I was home in my own bed. Still, day 33 is almost over and it’s all downhill from here. I keep telling myself that.
The drive to Glasgow as on a very windy road but thankfully totally uneventful. Again, the average speed Cameras are everywhere. 50mph on totally empty roads at 11:30pm at night is ridiculous and fact that my EVERY move is monitored and stored, quite frankly I find menacing. We are becoming more Orwellian by the day.

I arrived at the Bed and Breakfast at 12:30pm. My £30 had bought me flee pit. It was filthy and as I walked up the stairs the warm air smelt like a mixture of armpits and old paint. Nasty. The room’s window wouldn’t shut properly, which I was glad of because the place stunk of old cigarettes, not from last week, but maybe decades of ingrained. The promised Wi Fi was intermittently connecting. Sigh. I was tired. I reckon I should have waited on the Lord a bit more, and you know, even having to talk to someone would have been better than this.
I started the uploads and tried to get some sleep. Terry had sent me a text as I boarded the ferry…. “If Jesus is your Co-Pilot…you had better change seats” Sigh……
I repented, felt bad, and tried to ignore the dank smell and get some sleep…How many bed bugs were in the bed? I was soon to find out.

The uploads were started and it was gone 1:00am……
I wonder what tomorrow will bring?


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About vrfarrell

Biblical activist
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